In Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed, your main goal is to tear people’s clothes off. But while this is done under the guise that you’re destroying bad, vampire-like super humans, let’s not kid ourselves: this is a game about sexually assaulting people. Which is why I, in good conscience, cannot recommend anyone buy this game.
That it’s also a bad game is just the icing on the cake. A gross, gross cake.
Made by Acquire (Tenchu: Shadow Assassins, Way Of The Samurai 3) for the PlayStation 3 and Vita (a PS4 version is coming this November), and published stateside by XSEED, Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed is a third-person beat-’em-up in which you wake up to learn someone tried to convert you into one of those aforementioned vampiric people. But after you’re rescued by a woman named Shizuku, you learn that you haven’t been completely converted, so she convinces you to use your new powers to hunt down the people who did this to you, and any other sun-haters you can find in a small section of Tokyo.
So, basically you’re Blade if he was a rapist.
Except that unlike in a traditional beat-’em-up, Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed doesn’t just have you running from one fist fight to the next. If only. Along with side missions that basically have you running errands, you also often find yourself conversing with your friends. The latter of which makes this rather tedious because those conversations just go on and on and on…. Sure, there’s some interaction to be had during these talks. You’re sometimes asked to pick which of three lines of dialog to say next, and you can easily fast forward through the non-interactive parts. But even when they’re making important points about the story, most of these chats just drag.
Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed also differentiates itself in the way you, well, beat ’em up. Much like a fighting games, different buttons have you attacking different parts of your enemies bodies: hitting the triangle button attacks their head, circle hits their torso, and X has you going for their legs. Then, once you’ve worn down their clothes or hats or whatever, you hold those same buttons to strip off those specific clothes (unless, of course, you play this on the “Easy” difficulty, which simplifies things). You can even, if you time it right, chain together your clothes tearing attacks. Y’know, because god forbid that sexually assaulting multiple people be difficult.
It’s also helpful that, depending on the kind of weapon you’re using — say if it’s a bat, stick, or a plastic glowing sword that in no way resembles a lightsaber — you can actually hit multiple attackers at the same time. Which comes in handy since you’re outnumbered in every fight, and your enemies don’t take turns. But while this sometimes makes Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed rather challenging, it also sometimes makes it rather frustrating, since the difficulty can vary greatly from fight to fight.
But while the fighting in Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed works as advertised most of the time, it sometimes suffers from some really bad camera issues. Granted, it usually fights you more when you’re running around than when you’re brawling, and we all know the camera is often an issue in third-person games, but here it is especially uncooperative. Which, coupled with the irregular difficulty spikes, often ruins whatever fun you might have with the combat.
Of course, whatever fun you might have with the combat in Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed is already negated by the sexual assaulting. But what’s ironic is that some of the sleaziness in Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed actually works in the game’s favor. Specifically, when you’re choosing a line of dialog. If you opt for the regular, respectful, or mature option, things are kind of, well, dull. But if you pick the disrespectful or scummy one, things get a bit more interesting because the other people in your life deservedly give you grief about it. In fact, it’s the only time this game’s sleazy nature seems okay, if only because you’re choosing to be a crude jerk, and your pals slap you down for it.
But then the game goes and does something uncool like identify a woman on the street as a “privileged skank.”
Then there’s the whole thing about how the sexual assault mechanic doesn’t make any logical sense (and try and say that ten times fast without shuddering in disgust). It would be one thing if the vamps were totally covered up, and by ripping off an article of their clothes, you exposed them to the sun and thus killed them. But no, you have to take off all of their clothes — though some get to keep their underwear — while many of them walk around with just a hat or hair bow protecting their heads.
Along with its moral, social, ethical, and logical problems, Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed also has a number of technical issues that make it less than fun. I already mentioned the often unhelpful camera, but there’s also the fact that Akihabara is broken up into so many different sections that it seems like you spend more time loading them than you do exploring.
The Vita version of Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed also has a unique shortcoming in that when you use your smart phone — which is where you can read your emails and check your to-do list, among other things — you can’t use the touchscreen to select things. Y’know, unlike in other games. Or on a real smart phone. Obviously, this complaint doesn’t apply to the PS3 version (and won’t for PS4 when it comes out), but it’s weird that they seemingly forgot to implement something so obvious.
What’s also annoying about Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed is that there are bits that aren’t bad. For instance, the developers did a good job of capturing Akihabara, both in its layout and feeling (though, admittedly, I say that as someone who’s only been there once). Not only can you find such stores as Superpotato where they’re actually located, but they look like the real places from the outside. (Though my attempts to find the ramen place I ate at were unsuccessful.)
I also found the character Nanashi, your little sister, to be rather adorable in how she deals with you, calling you Brotagonist and other “bro”-based puns. Kind of makes me wish I had a precocious little sister. It’s just too bad the other characters are generic anime stereotypes.
The thing is, try though you might, you cannot divorce Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed from its sexually assault mechanic. It’s too much a part of it. You can dismiss it as a joke or parody, you can just say “oh, it’s a Japanese game, they have a different culture,” and you can just say it doesn’t count because they’re not real people or because they’re bad. But no matter what you say, the fact remains that the main objective of this game is to tear off people’s clothes against their will. And that’s just wrong.
Of course, by confessing right from the start that you shouldn’t buy Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed on moral grounds, it begs the question of why I bothered writing this review. For starters, part of my job as a game critic is to warn people about bad games, no matter why they’re bad. Second, if you’re someone who could possible look past the game’s indefensible premise, you deserve to know that the game has other problems, and is thus not fun, so you shouldn’t waste your money.
But my real hope is that people who think it’s okay or even cool to sexually assault people will be so turned off by my intro that they won’t read any further and will instead buy this game…and are now hating themselves for wasting their money on this piece of crap. And then I hope someone they know sees that they bought this game, and realize what it says about them, and it results in them getting dumped or fired or yelled at by their mom.
Suffice it to say, I couldn’t delete Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed off my system fast enough.